Songwriters At Play Podcast Now Available For Download and Streaming

October 13th, 2015

Hey Folks! The podcast for Songwriters At Play is now up and available for your listening pleasure. Ryan and I were fortunate to have been included in the Songwriter Showcase at Sculpterra Winery in Paso Robles on our most recent tour.





Found Meaning and The Value of Free Time While on Tour

August 26th, 2015

This tour is positively whipping on by.   Although we would have loved to have had a couple more shows lined up, things are moving fairly swiftly considering we’ve had a bit of downtime.   I have zero problems with this.   I strongly believe in leaving space open for the unexpected and allowing the time to explore said “unexpected.”

Ryan and I consider ourselves fairly lucky in that we both have day jobs that treat us fairly well.  We haven’t yet made the leap to full-time musicians, nor at this stage could we afford to.   Tours like these happen when we are both able to take the time off and coordinate a substantial list of places to show up and do our thing.  We rely on this time to make the loudest bang we can until we are able to hit the road again.   This brings me back to the down time….TY

Because our shows are generally in the evenings, we have most of the day to do the administrative work, laundry, blogging, game-planning, rehearsing and reflection.   For example, today will be spent writing “Thank You” cards to folks who made donations to the cause in absentia.   These were a completely unexpected gift and we wanted to make sure they were acknowledged.

We also had a free day to spend with a few people we haven’t seen in a long time.  First up were Jade Stone and Mike Lisching.  Jade’s family hosted us at their unbelievably beautiful home in Orange County the previous day.   It was an intimate crowd and Ryan did his best to play to the fine folks in the balcony.

Photo by Gary Stone

Photo by Gary Stone

Jade and Mike took us on a kayak tour of Balboa Island.  The weather was perfect and the water was unreal.   So too, for that matter, were the houses.   Holy moneybags, Batman.   Jade’s family is third generation Los Angelesian (to coin a term) and her grandfather had a cute, modest house nestled in between some of the most extravagant expenditures of the American dollar either of us had ever seen.  It appeared as though each house came with a yacht and a private dock.   There was a tribute to a Tuscan Villa, a Provincial Palace, and something in the relative size and shape of the New York Public Library.  One house even had a dinosaur creeping out of the trees.  At least there is a sense of humor about the whole thing.  I think…..Needless to say, we were impressed.

After a sweet jam session with Mike and Jade, we shoved off to La Mesa to visit an old friend of mine who invited us down the night before.   I haven’t seen this person since she and her husband were married three years ago and, before that, I hadn’t seen her since I left New York City.   We were VERY close.   We were also fairly young at the time and ended up having a bit of a falling out.  Blame it on whatever or whoever. I simply chalk it up to us being young and struggling to be the superstars we had set out to be.   It was a devastating time for me and I was unsure if we would ever reconcile.  When I received the invitation to her wedding some years later, I was shocked and humbled.  So I decided to go, alone, not knowing at all what to expect.   This is the thing about me; When I decide to jump into the deep end, I jump in naked.  In the interest of time and bandwidth, I’ll just say that my heart was warmed and I was welcomed by her friends and family. I was truly honored to be a part of the celebration.   After the wedding, we touched base here or there,  but unfortunately life is such that even the internet can’t truly keep people as connected as it is in our nature to be sometimes.   So, when Holly invited us down to visit her and her and her husband Jesse in their home that evening, I was all over it.   Two hour drive be damned, I was going to see my old friend again.

This is the part where leaving time to explore the unexpected is essential to a tour (or existence for that matter).   You know those friendships that can have years of space and hundreds of miles of time between them?  The ones where those years and miles melt away as if they never happened and you pick up right were you left off?   This is that friendship.  At least it is to me.   The conversation started and didn’t stop until the next day when we packed ourselves into my car to drive back up north.    However, before we did that, we made time for a bit of an impromptu artistic collaboration between the four of us.  This was the icing on the cake for a few reasons:

  1. I have always been impressed by Holly’s wit and resourcefulness.  She is one of the sharpest people I know and together with her husband, is building and running an impressive multi-media business out of their home.  We were STOKED that they asked us to stay and play.
  2. Ryan and I were able to see what an amazing team Holly and Jesse are together.  It was almost seamless. After watching this pair communicate and execute their work, I had to ask what their secret was.  I was relieved and humbled to hear that (as are many relationships and partnerships)  it was a work in progress.  Not to get too grandiose with this concept, but it gave me incredible respect for the human ability to overcome personal obstacles and work together towards something greater.
  3. I was able to see Ryan let go of the reigns a bit.  Usually, Ryan is the producer, engineer on TOP of being the musician. This time Jesse and Holly had it covered.  They know what they are doing and we could both just sit back and be musicians.  It was lovely.

    Holly with her rig at WorkPlay

    Holly with her rig at work/play

Unfortunately I didn’t get a shot with Jesse in it.  There was just too much awesome stuff happening to do all of the things that I wanted to do.  For instance, we forgot to leave them with an arm full of CDs before we left in a daze.  (DOH!)  There will MOST DEFINITELY be a care package in these fine folks’ future.

I can’t stress enough how valuable this time was for me as a human and as a musician.  I can’t stress enough how this wasn’t a part of the original plan, but MAKING the space for it was essential to the overall weight of the experience.  While we didn’t have a gig that day, we made a most excellent and valuable re-connection.  We are all busy building our dreams and it is NOT easy.   It is SO easy to lose track of the limited amount of time that we have on this tiny little blue ball as well as the original motivation for our goals.  This is why I believe it is essential to allow time for the people in your life that bring meaning and experiences that broaden your scope of understanding of what it means to be a human being.  I believe we need to give ourselves time to reconnect, reflect and sometimes even redirect if that is what is needed to continue with grace.

We still have a week left on the road and I already consider this one of the highlights of the tour.  I am excited to grow my partnership with Ryan and the rest of our band.  I am stoked to see what the future has in store for us as a musical team.



SoCal Tour: House Concert in Rowland Heights

August 23rd, 2015

On Thursday of this week,  my music partner and collaborator Ryan Avery and I shoved off on our tour to Southern California.    This is a big deal for me because, while Weed & Wildflowers is my second solo album, this is my first official music tour.   I have to admit that, as excited as I am to be on the road, it’s a bit terrifying.

The decision to go on tour was made relatively recently so we had no time to waste with planning.   We spent the better part of the last few months cramming our calendar with as many gigs as we could and gratefully accepting the support and assistance of our friends and family whenever offered.

Ryan is a human encyclopedia when it comes to budgeting, planning and marketing for these kinds of things.  Being the main brain behind the Violin Electronic act Chance’s End, he has been doing this music thing far longer than I have.  In fact,  he’s sharing his knowledge in case any of you fine folks are considering a tour of your own.

Needless to say, I was put to work immediately with venue soliciting, contacting radio stations and local publications to see if they would add us to their event listing pages.   This kind of work is time consuming and generally met with a bunch of radio silence.  It would be entirely discouraging if we didn’t receive any feedback at all.  However,  it did make those instances that we received a genial ” Sure!  What are the deets?” all the more rewarding.

Our first stop on this trip was what Ryan calls a “Keystone Gig.”  This event is generally the reason for the tour as it tends to provide the heaviest turnout.  The rest of the tour is typically built around it along the way.

Our keystone gig on this trip was a house concert at the home of my aunt and uncle.  They are some of my (and the entire family’s) biggest supporters and are geniuses at creating a genuine buzz of excitement and joy wherever they go.  Needless to say, they put on a stellar party.

Because Ryan and I are still expanding our reach as an acoustic duo, opportunities like these are golden.   There were roughly 60 people in attendance, almost none of whom had ever seen us perform a live show.

I would say that, given the number of years Ryan and I have performed together and that house concerts are kind of our jam, we brought a very fine performance to our crowd.  We sold a number of CDs and collected a lovely set of contacts for our mailing list.  There was even talk of making this an annual event.  I would consider that a roaring success for our punchy little band.

I want to say that I am extraordinarily lucky.  I have a motivated and talented partner who believes in the music we make.  I have an exceptionally supportive family who goes out of their way to showcase us and provide a hub for our travels.  Without these people in my life, this journey would have a much bumpier road under it.

It is situations like these wherein I am reminded of how absolutely blessed I am.
Next stop on tour is house concert number 2!  Wish us luck!

2015 SoCal tour Aug 22-30!

August 8th, 2015

Guess what? I’m going on tour!

From August 22-30, we’ll be headed to Los Angeles with several stops along the way. I’ll be dragging my violinist Ryan Avery along with me, so come say hi to us. We’re looking forward to performing for all of you!

No shows booked at the moment.

Emily Zisman and The Day Is Done at the Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton

August 1st, 2015

Hey Folks!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted much on the site, but there is  a good reason!    Ryan and I have been busying ourselves with planning and rehearsing for our first Southern California tour about which I will share more very soon.

But FIRST! We’ve got a SUPER exciting gig just around the corner for which we’ve been making ourselves all bright and shiny.    This will be a chance to see the whole band in action!  If you’ve been meaning to make it out to one of my shows, this would be the show for you! 2015-08-08-Firehouse The Firehouse is an amazingly cozy venue with stellar sound nestled within a loving, supportive community.   We will be the featured act for the evening.  But be sure to come early for a good seat and to catch the opening acts, Maddy Hudson and Shanth Gopalswamy.

Maddy Hudson was a past contestant on American Idol and managed to make Jennifer Lopez cry with he voice (my kind of singer!)  check out the clip here.

No shows booked at the moment.

Mark your calendars and we hope to see you next week!


Interview with Marketplace Senior Tech Correspondent Molly Wood

June 10th, 2015

Hey folks! I was fortunate enough to catch Molly Wood in a rare moment of respite. We shared a glass of wine (I always wondered about that phrase…we each had our own glass, so did we truely share a glass? Meh…) and I picked her brain about her adventures in the world of tech journalism. Come on along!


June Gigs!

May 27th, 2015
  • Saturday, June 6th

Americano Social Club

Club Deluxe

1511 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

9:30pm- 1am

$5 Door



  • June 9th

Savvy Rest Natural Bedroom  Featuring Marty Atkinson!

6:30 – 9:30

Savvy Rest Natural Bedroom

3001 Telegraph Ave., unit C

Berkeley CA 94705

All Ages


  • Saturday, June 13th


Americano Social Club

8:30pm- 11pm

Dinner Show!


  • Sunday, June 14th

San Jose Farmer’s Market

All Day Special with Marty Atkinson

6910 Almaden Expressway, San Jose CA

10am- 3pm



  • Saturday, June 20th

EZ Band, Blood & Dust, Jennifer Hasegawa and Anna Forward

Octopus Literary Salon

7:30pm – 10:30pm

$5-$10 Sliding Scale at the Door


  • Sunday, June 21st

San Jose Farmer’s Market

All Day Special with Marty Atkinson

6910 Almaden Expressway, San Jose CA

10am- 3pm


  • Saturday 27th

Private Event with the Americano Social Club




Our Relationship To Time (a work in progress)

May 19th, 2015

Our relationship to time

Is an

emotional one

We long for the past

We fear the future

We are frustrated

with the present

Time moves around us at the frequency with which we emote to it

In our pain, it lingers

As if attempting to provide comfort.

In our glee, it flees as if it is a child accepting our challenge to outpace it.

In our impatience with it, it becomes


A petulant teenager, calling us out on our hypocrisy.

And we still cannot measure it


we rarely choose to recognize our emotions as

physical actors in our story lines.

We do not fully relate to ourselves.

And so

We cannot accurately measure the movement



April Gigs and other News!

April 1st, 2015

Howdy folks!  LOTS of great news to share this edition. I just spent a gloriously creative and energizing evening in the studio with Ryan Avery who is cooking up some groovy new num nums for your earholes.  So stay tuned!

In the news!

FIRST! My latest album Weeds & Wildflowers is now available for streaming liking and creating stations about on PANDORA!

Create a station in my name or in the name of one of my albums or songs and I will love you forever!
Aw, heck. I’ll love you anyway. But it would make me SUPER happy.  Click here in case you haven’t already!

SECOND!  My contribution to the Silicon Valley Tales blog is now up for perusal.  I’ve captured my personal thoughts about the creative process and shared them with the interworld.   Have a look, here!


Saturday, April 4th

Americano Social Club

Club Deluxe

1511 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117



CHP Evening with the Stars Performance

My Mentee, Billy Banks will be making his SF Jazz Debut!

Come out and help me support him and the members of this excellent community organization.

Wednesday April 22

Tickets and info:

5:45 PM – VIP Party Commences
6:45 PM – General Admission Doors Open
7:15 PM – Show Commences

SF Jazz

Thursday April 23rd

Rich and the Rhythm Roustabouts


1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley CA 94702



Friday, April 24th

Grand Avenue Soul

with The New Thoreaus and Glorious Irrelevant

The Legionnaire Saloon

2272 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94612



As always, I miss you and can’t wait to see you again.  THANK YOU for supporting local music!

Much Luv,


Work in Progress: The Phoenix and the Albatross

February 27th, 2015

You, the Gestalt:


The Phoenix and the Albatross


You are a rusted relic of splendor and ruin.

A tarnished tine jutting from the roiled roots of your

Imperial past.

A Sepulchral Sun.


Rising and falling in Your perennial production.


To me

You shine

LED-like within Your bleak and pulsing nights that seem to stretch unparalleled into the continuum.

and I cannot flake myself from Your

tinder skin.


A clever thief, You are.

Humored and intrigued by my adolescent albatross

attempting flight and failing

and failing

and gloriously failing.

Clamoring over myself to





Painstakingly practicing the parts

of one simple act.


And You;

Effortlessly executing every element

fractured and flawless.

Each feather glowing.

Each wing a fortress.


Each death

a diamond.





This won’t last.

You’ll steal me just as You’d planned.


You’ll take all the parts You want

and leave the scaffolding scorched and barren.

You are a cruel game I play with myself.

It’s the only time I can predict who will win.

I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.


I just want

so badly

to be gracious in my ruin

and humble in my splendor.

Seamless as the sunrise.


I will never stop.

I will come back.

Even after it destroys me.